Thoughts by Bahadar Ali

March 4, 2009

Requiem for Pakistan Cricket

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 3:32 am

Apparently, the security reservations by Australian and Indian Cricket teams were not all unfound regarding playing cricket in Pakistan. After refusal by Indian and Australian Cricket teams to play at Pakistani soil, to save Pakistan cricket, Sri Lankans volunteered and agreed to play despite the known and hostile presence of all kind of Qasabs ( a derivative of Ajmal Qasab, the Mumbai fame ). And this is how they are rewarded. Their pace bowler and skipper sustained the bullet wounds along with six policemen who got shot and dead while trying to save the guest team in Lahore. I sympathize with the poor policemen and Sri Lankan cricketing heroes.

Cricket is like a second religion in South Asia. The people of South Asian nations get hypnotized when a cricket series is played there. Pakistani nation is though bitterly divided over a plethora of social, cultural and linguistic fault-lines but the only consensus this nation has, is for cricket. During the intense moments of a sensational cricket match, the student would close the book, the elderly initiate rigid gyration of the beaded string, ladies would initiate prayers for the victory of Pakistani side and even the money launderers hold their activities, though only to call cricket bookies for placing their wagers. In short, there is a passion for this sport. And this kind of incident is like hurting the emotions of an entire nation.

Over the last twenty odd years, Pakistan has become a country living in a constant state of denial. We have found scapegoats, and the most favorite of them is Indian RAW. The ruling class ( military ) has made us believe that all the heavens that has fallen over Pakistan has never been the doing of ourselves but almost always from RAW or the second favorite is American conspiracy triggered by Jewish lobbies. Now as the investigations would be launched about this incident the finger would be pointed at all directions and will end up in discovering a foreign ( Indian ) hand. And this will be taken well in public, of course, to settle the score for Mumbai terrorism episode. Of course Indians can be taken off the hook as it can be their alibi, but the pious investigation would argue about the Indian motive. That is it. And what will happen to the Pakistani cricket? Frozen, chapter closed at least for years to come.

If we could come out of our perpetual denial mode, cannot we see as why boys school were burnt in Swat along with the girls school? It is self explanatory, with the closure of schools you have more potential to get recruits for the ‘holy’ war against God knows whom and same is the case of cricket. Young men who sacrifice their conventional careers and burn theirselves in the cricket grounds of big cities to small villages in scorching heats of summer days for something. They do it because each of them tries to explore an Imran Khan, Javed Minadad and Wasim Akram from within. You discourage this sport and where do you think the youth will end up at? Two potential and lucrative venues, firstly drugs and secondly Jihadi ranks or both. Nothing is being done in random, every action has its very well chalked out purpose.

It also reminds me, the pre-Jihadi times in that country when evenings were meant for sports, everywhere. Pakistan used to be world champion of Cricket, field Hockey and Squash. It also has the distinction to be the world champs. of four major world sports at the same time, from 1992-1995. Healthy bodies produce healthy minds and I can see the kind of discouragement the cricket eager youth is going to face. Comparatively it is a minor terrorist activity as compare to the terrorism incidents we have seen in the past but infact it is tragedy of giant proportions and evil behind this would manifest itself in the years to come.

Unless public doesn’t find the enemy within its ranks and I have absolutely no doubt about it that by ignoring the people with militant tendencies is like burying our head in the sand. I always see, big rallies are taken out against the US drone attacks ( or I would say it mindless attacks ) by religious parties, is it not time to carry out the protest marches and rallies against this or similar incidents? The governments and security forces cannot do everything, this is like removing the cancer from the society where each individual needs to play its part.

In this epilogue, I am also dismayed over the leading political parties who are squabbling for the power crumbs. This mindless game could have been sorted out without raising the political temperatures. When the governments reduce theirselves to survival tactics, this is what happens to the public as we have seen in Lahore today. This is a separate topic sometime later I’ll write on it.

Published in Daily THE NEWS March 05, 2009

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